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It's only natural

By Robert T. Smith
web posted February 4, 2013

We have all heard the ongoing saga: toxic pollution spewing from big business is destroying our environment and killing our children, the oceans will rise and droughts will occur, cancer rates and respiratory diseases are on the increase because of big businesses polluting for profit...these are some of the many emotionally charged allegations leveled by the enviro-activists.  Unfortunately, to these prognosticators of death and doom the allegations are only natural.

Air Quality

As a measure of the quality of air in our country, the U.S. EPA maintains data and statistics that quantify air quality from 1980 to the present.  Based on the U.S. EPA's own data, the national ambient air quality standards for certain target pollutants have all steadily and dramatically reduced.  As a national average:

-Carbon monoxide has been reduced 82%
-Ozone was reduced 28%
-Lead has been reduced 89%
-Nitrogen oxides have been reduced 52%
-Particulate matter as PM10 was reduced 38%, and fine particulate matter as PM 2.5 has   been reduced 27%
-Sulfur dioxide has been reduced 83%

Regardless, according the Obama administration and its eco-activist supporters, the quality of the air in our country is literally killing our kids.  During the run-up to our recent presidential election the American Lung Association ran emotionally charged television advertisements depicting the horrible state of our air quality on...wait for it...the children.  The gut-wrenching images of children struggling to breathe while fitted with a nebulizer, among the other emotionally charged depictions, are flashed on the television screen for all to witness.  Coincidentally, this is the same talking point used by President Obama and his party as they seek to dehumanize the Republicans and their alleged benefactors...evil big business.
As is well documented, the U.S. EPA is set to unleash a whole new set of regulations that includes extreme new limits for the regulation of ozone (smog).  This new set of regulations is reported to have an enormously negative impact on the economy.  Coincidentally, these new regulations have been planned for some time, but will now be released post-election.

\Since the 1970's, the U.S. EPA established environmental regulations to control the historically recognized environmental degradation issues associated with this country's industrial revolution.  The results of these programs had, and still have, tremendous immediate and long-lasting return on the efforts.  However, over the decades, the law of diminishing returns on our environmental air regulations investment has set upon us in many instances.  Regardless, we continue to expend more and more efforts and money to seek those remaining molecules of contamination to satisfy our appetite for environmental perfection.  While nobody is suggesting to stop efforts addressing actual pollution issues that may harm human health or the environment, some measure of the likelihood of harm seems prudent.  Alleging harm caused by the dramatically improved air quality here in our country appears to be only natural to the eco-activists. 

Oil

Nobody would argue that major oil spill events like the Exxon Valdez or the recent BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico are good for the environment, but we must put these events into the context of the earth's natural processes.  As pointed out by the National Research Council (NRC) of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, "natural oil seeps contribute the highest amount of oil to the marine environment."  NOAA describes a natural seepage area in California: "One of the best-known areas where this happens is Coal Oil Point along the California Coast near Santa Barbara. An estimated 2,000 to 3,000 gallons of crude oil is released naturally from the ocean bottom every day just a few miles offshore from this beach." 

Many who are swayed by the emotional argument of the eco-activists are unaware of the natural processes involved with oil releases to the oceans.  In fact, these marine oil seeps offer clear markers for focusing oil exploration activities in the ocean basins.  One of the side affects of offshore oil production has been the reduction of oil and gas seepage due to decreases in subsea oil-reservoir pressure.  The presence of oil in the oceans is, in fact, only natural.

The list of such examples is almost endless.  However, for man-made contributions of chemicals to the environment, additions to the natural level of chemicals present typically occur not on a whim, but rather to enhance our daily lives, make them easier, provide products that extend our lives, or mitigate other issues that arise as a result of modern life.  For the eco-activists intent on controlling man's activity here on earth and allocating resources as they see fit, their political philosophy is best described as the command and control of collectivism.  To those inclined toward this manner of socialist thinking, it's only natural. ESR

Robert T. Smith is an environmental scientist who spends his days enjoying life and the pursuit of happiness with his family.  He confesses to cling to his liberty, guns and religion, with antipathy toward the arrogant ruling elites throughout the country.

 

 

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